Rome the capital of Italy is a world influencing center of art, architecture, history and culture. The former Roman empire is seen on display in power and glory all over the city. Vatican city the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is a territory to visit in the city of Rome. This grand city is a must see in Italy. I mean whoever creates carbonara are world changing people so how could this city not be amazing? I have compiled below a list of some of the coolest things to do and see in this city of love to inspire you.
Things to do
The Roman Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum is the most known Roman ruin in Rome and top visited in the city. This epic ruin that is 4 stories is a ruin of gladiator fights back in the day holding 50-80,000 people!
This is a 21m-high historical landmark that is a Roman structure made up of 3 arches decorated with figures & battle scenes. This is the largest of the 3 triumphal arches in Rome. This is located right next door to the Colosseum and can be seen through the Colosseum at different cool vantage points. This arch is a free site open to the public!
The Pantheon is a historical monument that is an iconic temple built circa 118 to 125 A.D. The Pantheon has a dome & Renaissance tombs, including Raphael’s.
Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
The Roman Forum is one of the best Roman ruins historical sites. The forum is a huge excavated area of Roman temples, squares & government buildings, some dating back 2,000 years. The ruins can be walked through and explored. This entry fee is included in with your
Roman Baths of Caracalla
The baths of Caracalla are ruins of a large rectangular-shaped Roman thermal bath complex used from around 216 A.D. to 537 A.D.
Catacombs are ancient Christian burial passageways underground. They are a rich part of Rome’s history, culture and faith. These are a must see and top experience to do while you are in Rome. Walking 16m underground through narrow passageways in the dark visiting ancient tombs is a pretty wild experience. This is one of the most budget tours you can do in Rome!
This is the beautiful famous fountain in Rome that is an aqueduct fed rococco fountain that was designed by Nicola Salvi and completed in 1762. The fountain is beautiful to see at night as well as during the day. There are lots of cafes and restaurants around that you can pause your city exploration to take in the fountain. The fountain gets very crowded and is best to go early. It is said if you throw a coin in the fountain you will return to the eternal city. It is also thought to be good luck for couples to throw in coins. Don’t forget to throw a coin into the fountain! This site is free to visit in a public square.
Vatican City: Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilica, & the Sistine Chapel
Vatican City is a city state surrounded by Rome. Rome, Italy is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic church. Vatican City is home to the pope and a treasure trove of art, architecture, history and faith. There is a Vatican museum with lots of sculptures and art, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s square and St. Peter’s Basilica, and huge gardens. The sistine chapel is the dome famous for Michaelangelo’s painting.
This is a circular, 2nd-century castle with furniture & painting collections in Renaissance apartments. This castle sits on the Tiber river with the picturesque bridge in the city. This castle was used to protect the popes as well as a tomb. There is a secret corridor that connects this castle to the Vatican and was used to allow two popes to escape in the 15th century.
Take a lit up night guided tour
The cool sunset evening open air bus tours are a must do in the city! Seeing the sun set over the Roman ruins and seeing the beautiful architecture lit up is its own beauty. This is a cool activity to do at night that is not very expensive and is a cool experience. The hop on and off red busses offer cheap tours all around the city. This is a whole new way to experience and see the city even at the same sites you were at in the morning but it is in a cool new way.
Tour the Colosseum by starlight
This is a new special tour that has been added the last 2 years now in the Colosseum (since 2017)! The tour is a great experience in the cool with way less crowds, no waiting in lines and offers a unique star gazing experience and seeing the Colosseum by moonlight.
The Spanish Steps
They are a beautiful set of baroque steps with irregular butterfly-shaped design, that were built in the 18th century at a French diplomat’s request. The barcaccia fountain is down at the base of the stairs and the stairs look up to the Trinita dei Monti a gorgeous renaissance church at the top of the stairs. This is an iconic area and picture in Rome and is best enjoyed earlier in the day with less people.
Borghese Gallery and Museum
After the Vatican museums and gallery this is the most popular art museum in Rome. This is equally as breathtaking and gorgeous with the ceiling frescoes. This is an art museum villa that is filled with 15th-18th century art including pieces by Bernini & Caravaggio.
Mouth of Truth Sculpture
As seen in the movie Roman Holiday the art sculpture that is a carving of man’s face on what was an ancient manhole cover, a popular spot because of the myth with it. It is believed that if you lie or are a liar the man of truth will bite off your fingers.
Republic Square & fountain
This is a beautiful historical building and fountain that is great for cooling off on a hot day. This is also a convenient stop on the metro line. There are live musicians at night and it is a peaceful place to hang out in the evening.
Eat at a restaurant in Piazza Navona
These are the best for seeing the city life and people watching! The meals are more expensive in these outdoor restaurants in prime location but worth it to sit near the Trevi fountain or another picturesque place and take in the city. Piazza Navona is a famous elegant square from the 1st century A.D., with a classical fountain, street artists & bars. This one is near the Pantheon and the restaurant above is pictured in this Piazza.
Shop for flowers, art & leather goods at the market
Some of the best places to get souvenirs is in the local shops and markets held in several piazzas in the city. There are amazing artists with paintings of the Tuscany region, flower fields and other beautiful portraits of Italy. The leather products are a top souvenir in Italy. I bought several leather sandals when I visited especially some roman gladiator sandals.